Family, friends gather to honor fallen Santa Fe police officer Robert Duran

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SANTA FE, N.M. – Family and friends gathered Saturday to remember Robert Duran, a former Santa Fe police officer who was killed in the line of duty in 2022. 

“Sitting around one day I said, you know, ‘We don’t have anything that says we were here.’ So I came up with this light bulb that went off and said, ‘We need to build this,’” said Paul Caputo, event co-organizer.

Caputo is just one of the many people who came together to turn the Rio Rancho Veteran’s Memorial Park into a reality. 

The park has several monuments honoring various branches and services, including a wall with bricks honoring those who are no longer with us.

“Every time we lose an officer in the line of duty, we put a brick up in your name,” said Caputo. 

On Saturday, another name was added. Santa Fe police officer Robert Duran was killed after a deadly high speed chase on I-25 early last year. 

Jeannine Jaramillo is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and several other charges. She told police she was kidnapped after she led them on the high speed chase that killed Duran and retired Las Vegas firefighter Frank Lovato.

Her trial is set for early 2024. 

Now, more than a year later, his family and friends gathered to honor him and celebrate his life. 

Caputo says this may seem like a small gesture, but to the family it can mean the world to know their loved one will never be forgotten. 

“There’s always a big fanfare time and everybody goes away. We want these people to know that we care about them forever, and we stand vigilant for them as a family in place of their lost one,” said Caputo. 

Caputo says the park is a place for tears and reflection, but it’s also a place for laughter and life.

“It’s a place to bring your family, have a picnic. Have fun, make noise, bring a karaoke machine, let your kids get up here on stage and show off, and make themselves look crazy. It’s about celebration of life,” Caputo said. 

The new brick honoring Duran was donated by the Ten-82 Foundation, an organization that supports families of fallen officers. 

Caputo says Saturday’s unveiling may have taken a little longer than they’d hoped, but getting to honor Duran is as important as ever. 

Organizers say any service member can be added to the monument even though they’re still actively serving, and not from Rio Rancho.